I broke a bone. They were from a while back. They’re my moms. I’m experimenting. These are all excuses I have used to score prescription narcotics or explain why I used them.
Where do we go, as a society, when we are the largest per-capita consumers of prescription narcotics, when 25 percent of our nation’s largest city gets prescribed opioid painkillers annually? (Blackwell) (Nordqvist) We try everything we can imagine, from new emergency room procedures to increased awareness, to uncovering kept secrets. The real question is: Does it make a difference?
Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City recently announced that public hospital emergency rooms will be changing their operating methods regarding painkillers. They will no longer be able to prescribe long-acting opioid painkillers; in fact, they will only be able to prescribe a three day supply of pills like Percocet and Methadone. Any lost, stolen, or damaged prescriptions cannot be replaced in ERs, all in an attempt to cut down abuse and misuse of narcotics. (Nordqvist)
Sounds good, huh?
We also try to increase awareness of previously unknown or hidden ideas or statistics. For instance, 1 in 6 Canadian teens use narcotic pills recreationally, which is a startlingly high number. (Blackwell) Recent and continuing inquiries have exposed that claims stating there were few risks of addiction in using Oxycontin to treat pain were funded by Purdue Pharma, none other than the maker of Oxycontin, and other drug manufacturers.
In fact, these inquiries have also exposed that most of the patients in these trials would have experienced symptoms of withdrawals. (Whoriskey) With increased awareness, we can change the problem, right? If we only keep looking at what we did wrong, we can do it right in the future, right?
But, really, what good does all this do us at this point? While the emergency rooms shouldn’t be over-prescribing addictive drugs, do they really think that it will curb the drug trade? After all, heroin, meth, and crack aren’t sold anywhere legally and their sales are flourishing.
More to the point, there are treatment centers, hotlines, and 12 step programs readily available for those who are suffering and want to recover. The vast majority of people know that narcotics are a problem, and if they don’t want to acknowledge that then they are stuck in their own denial. As much as we may want to, we can’t travel back into the past and rewrite those clinical trials; we can’t undo what has already been done.
As sad as it is, there are many addicts who are simply not ready to stop, and all the inquiries, billboards, and emergency procedures in the world won’t change that. It is important to remember that there will always be people who want to experiment.
However, I have a lot of hope that these measures will prove to be effective at making people think twice when they are prescribed medications. Saving even a few people the misery of addiction will be well worth the effort.
Blackwell, Tom. “Prescription narcotics among Canada’s deadliest drugs, studies show.” nationalpost.com. 16 January 2013. 18 January 2013 <http://nationalpost.com/2013/01/16>.
Nordqvist, Christian. “Reducing Opioid Prescription Painkiller Abuse, Mayor Bloomberg Announces New Guidelines.” medicalnewstoday.com. 14 January 2013. 18 January 2013 <http://medicalnewstoday.com/articles/254893.php>.
Whoriskey, Peter. “Studies downplayed risks of OxyContin.” bangordailynews.com. 01 January 2013. 2013.
—. bangordailynews.com. 01 January 2013. 18 January 2013 <http://bangordailynews.com/2013/01/01/>.
Filed under: Addiction, Alcohol and Drugs · Tags: Addiction, hydrocodone, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, methadone, Oxycontin. Hydromorphone, painkillers, percocet, prescription drugs, prescription medication, prescription narcotics, Roxicet, vicodin